Benchmarking AMD FX vs. Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge CPUs Following Spectre, Meltdown, L1TF, Zombieload

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 24 May 2019 at 08:56 AM EDT. Page 1 of 8. 41 Comments.

Now with MDS / Zombieload being public and seeing a 8~10% performance hit in the affected workloads as a result of the new mitigations to these Microarchitectural Data Sampling vulnerabilities, what's the overall performance look like now if going back to the days of AMD FX Vishera and Intel Sandybridge/Ivybridge processors? If Spectre, Meltdown, L1TF/Foreshadow, and now Zombieload had come to light years ago would it have shaken that pivotal point in the industry? Here are benchmarks looking at the the performance today with and without the mitigations to the known CPU vulnerabilities to date.

As I've already delivered many benchmarks of these mitigations (including MDS/Zombieload) on newer CPUs, for this article we're looking at older AMD FX CPUs with their relevant Spectre mitigations against Intel Sandybridge and Ivybridge with the Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS mitigations. Tests were done on Ubuntu 19.04 with the Linux 5.0 kernel while toggling the mitigation levels of off (no coverage) / auto (the default / out-of-the-box mitigations used on all major Linux distributions for the default protections) / auto,nosmt (the more restricted level that also disables SMT / Hyper Threading). The AMD CPUs were tested with off/auto as in the "auto,nosmt" mode it doesn't disable any SMT as it doesn't deem it insecure on AMD platforms.

The processors used for testing were the:

- Intel Core i3 2120
- Intel Core i5 2500K
- Intel Core i7 2700K
- Intel Core i7 3700K
- AMD FX-8320E
- AMD FX-8370E
- AMD FX-8370

Based on what I had available in a still working state and not running into any other issues (like motherboard problems preventing the FX-9590 from being tested) as well as time constraints. All of the systems were running with their latest BIOS, 2 x 4GB DDR3 system memory, and SATA 3.0 SSD storage (primarily the Samsung SSD 850). The ASRock Z68 Pro3 was the primary Intel Sandy/Ivy test platform while on the AMD side was the MSI 970 GAMING.

Ubuntu 19.04 x86_64 with the Linux 5.0.0-15-generic kernel was at play with all available Disco Dingo stable release updates. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a wide range of benchmarks were carried out focused on looking at the impact of the CPU vulnerability mitigations for these aging Intel and AMD desktop platforms.

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